What I Learned from a Broken Ankle

What I Learned from a Broken Ankle

Many of you already know that I broke my ankle this summer. I was in a non-weight bearing boot cast and crutches for seven weeks, then onto crutches and no cast, and now walking on it but still limping. In the “breaking episode,” I also twisted and sprained the other knee, which added to the overall complications! As a result, I was “forced” to take time off to ensure the foot got rest, I got rest, etc. It made me think about life and many other things. I had lots of reflection time. I also learned or renewed knowledge in some areas. And of course, there was the switch from “say as I say to say as I do” and learning things on which I had pontificated in the past, but probably did not practice as well as I should.

Here, in no special order, are the top five things I learned.

  1. There is no great time to break an ankle, but I know I don’t ever want to be laid up during the summer again—I missed out on too many planned activities and holidays. The learning: Other than being more careful, I really don’t have control over a lot of things in life and need to roll with the punches, as it were!
  1. As a friend (and I use that term loosely at this point) said to me (by email and not face to face, I noted) after seeing me in a cast and learning the story behind it, “Basketball is a young person’s sport, especially when playing next to a cliff that drops 15 or so feet to the ocean.” The learning: Consider the risks before you make decisions. Saving the basketball (that probably could have been replaced for under $20 at Canadian Tire) from going over the cliff was not the wise decision, but sliding into the rock crevasse and twisting my leg was the right thing to do versus flying over the edge of the cliff, even if it meant seven weeks in a cast and on crutches!
  1. It is pretty amazing how everyone comes together to support you. My wife and daughter were amazing, taking on a great many of my chores, taking care of me, nursing and worrying about me; clients were considerate when timelines were set back a few weeks or more; other friends and family pitched in and checked on my progress. The learning: I am pretty lucky to have such a fantastic network of family, friends, and clients. I should be very grateful for this.
  1. When you follow directions, and listen to professionals’ and others’ advice, things work out much better. The learning: Listen more and talk less. Take advice when given by those more knowledgeable than you in any given field.
  1. I had a great deal of time to reflect on work, family, and mortality. As John Donne said (or a bastardized version of it), “No man is an island unto himself.” I am blessed with an integrated network of family, friends, and business associates that mean the world to me. The learning: Be very grateful for all that you have and continue to share with others that which has been given to you.

As I write this TMC and recorded my learnings, I can truly see the lessons learned were not just about the outcomes of breaking my ankle, but about life—both personal and professional in general. I can truly apply all these learnings to my life every day—and I should. I hope that you can take something away from these five learnings and not have to break your ankle to learn them!

I know Thanksgiving was yesterday, but today and every day I need to be thankful and show gratitude for all that I have—even if I am still limping a little!

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  1. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your ankle, and what a way to break it! Congrats on turning it all around for a real lesson in gratitude.

  2. Another insightful blog Brent. Words to live by for sure.

    • Susan,
      Thanks so much! Hope all is well and you are getting a break (no pun intended nor literally wished for) soon!!

  3. Hi Brent. Great insight. I tore my Achilles 2 years ago and rented a scooter to get around (I am not a crutches person) which was a huge help. My lesson learned over the three months of my issue was that people with disabilities are not treated on an equal playing field. In spite of my injury I was very fortunate and self-reliant, and while I knew I was dealing with a short term setback, I made sure to advise the major brand name retailers I had encountered who were not disability-friendly about how consumers with disabilities may choose to select a competitor if they couldn’t address basic access requirements. My injury really opened my eyes to the realities of what people are facing and there many key branded retailers who need to become more self aware.

    • Barry,
      You are so right. I learned the same. I was using crutches and those with disabilities (short term or permanent) truly are not treated as equals. And attempts to “look like we are helpful” is far from the truth… but you don’t know these things until you experience it. (Accessible washrooms… but if no automated door opener does not make it that accessible” and many others. I do truly understand and now appreciate the money municipalities invest in making all corners not curbed but sloped… makes a big difference. Before I could not appreciate the investment. Really is “walk a mile in my shoes” to understand!

  4. We all make ‘educated’ risks, sometimes they work out sometimes not so much, but they are no more stupid than sitting on the sidelines doing nothing is smart.
    Sorry to hear this risk didn’t work out. Hopefully not too much beer was wagered.

    • Bill,
      LOL… thanks so much. The wager was small… lessons learned and all good now!


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